Beach Baptist Demolished


And whether the church rebuilds is currently in the hands of an Atlanta developer hoping to build condos and workforce housing on the property and rebuild the church for free. Beach Baptist did not have insurance.

On Wednesday contractors removed the cross from the top of the church then demolished the church building. It’s now a pile of rubble. The space under the church was being used to store supplies and food for the community. The Community Resource Center will now be run out of a tent on the property which will also host in-person church services starting June 18th.

The Beach Baptist Church was severely damaged by Hurricane Ian. The church did not have insurance. Pastor Shawn Critser would like to rebuild a church that seats 500.

Atlanta developer SJ Collins is hoping to rebuild the church for free in return for a chunk of the property where they would build an 8-story condo building and workforce housing on top of the church, which would be run by the church.

The Connecticut Street church property is in a residential neighborhood. Many of the neighbors are opposed to the condo building project and they are circulating a petition against it to present to local government officials.

The 3.2 acres of church property is currently zoned Institutional and the development plan does not fit within the town’s current Land Development Code. The next step would be to file plans with the town and going before the Local Planning Agency. Critser was hopeful they would be able to go before the LPA this month but that now appears to be unlikely.

In order to make the numbers work to rebuild the Beach Baptist Church, Collins says he needs to construct an 8-story 40-unit condo building on the property. Each unit would sell in the “multi-millions.” The original plan was for the building to be 13 stories. That was knocked down to 8 after initial meetings with local elected officials.



  1. The last two sentences in your article hints to what the “elected servants” are planning to do. (Stop calling them elected “Officials”… it goes to their heads.

  2. Maybe someone from the beach should start a gofundme for the church. I know there are good people out there who might help. We have spent time on FMB and are familiar with the church and the whole area. Our prayers are with you all as you recover from the storm damage.

  3. Does anyone know how to sign the petition? We are currently living away while our home is rebuilt. Can I find it online?

  4. Where is the sewage going from the trailers behind the church? Has the town or health dept. ever investigate this? Or were they complacent about deadly sewage because it involved a church??

    • LOL There are ordinances governing water, sewer, and electricity for RV hookups. If you’re so dreadfully concerned that something untoward is occurring, contact Town staff. Or did you just want to make baseless allegations from your keyboard? 🤦‍♀️

  5. Last week FOX 4 had an interesting spot on a proposed Work-Force housing project in the city of Ft. Myers. Here is the link that one can cut and paste into a browser, //
    After reviewing the short video, one can draw their own conclusions. It seems that the Ft. Myers approach is much different than what the church is proposing.
    In regard to building anything on the property that is beyond the current city code, I think most of the local residents have made it clear that this is very unpopular.

  6. Will miss the church landmark. Bad news is that we now have a view of the trailer commune behind the church! Only a few have been added after the storm so this is not totally post-hurricane accommodations. How is it possible that I can only have my RV on my property for 18 months but the church has the beginning of a trailer park without appropriate zoning? There does not seem to be water and sewer hooked-up to the trailers. A health hazard at best!

  7. How can Estero Blvd. handle more traffic from new condo buildings? It just can’t. Until we find an answer for traffic, we should not allow more high-rises.

  8. Of all the properties I’ve watched demolished, the most heartbreaking is Beach Baptist. This was a special place for this beach community. Sunday breakfast and bible study, followed by heavenly music and Pastor Shawn’s incredible sermons; presenting the beach community with Thanksgiving baskets, and Christmas gifts; Teen Challenge housing; emergency services following Ian; this church has been a God-given respite for multitudes of people. Thank you Shawn for all you have done for us here on Fort Myers Beach through this church.


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